Why didn’t anyone listen? Chilling warning about dangerous Wuhan lab issues YEARS ago
In 2018, diplomats from the US State Department voiced concerns over the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), located near the seafood market Chinese authorities claim the virus emerged from, cables obtained by the Washington Post reveal. Jamison Fouss, consul general in Wuhan, and Rick Switzer, the Beijing embassy’s counselor of environment, science, technology and health, led the US delegation that visited the Wuhan level four biosafety lab on several different occasion from January to March 2018. But they were quickly concerned about a distinct lack of safety measures being taken and the biosafety of the lab’s research on coronavirus in animals, warning if immediate action wasn’t taken, an outbreak similar to the killer SARS pandemic, which infected 8,000 people in nearly 80 countries, could quickly emerge.
They sent two “sensitive but unclassified cables” to Washington, asking for help to assist the lab increase its safety protocols.
The US delegation warned a lack of strict safety measures being taken to handle the dangerous virus in the Wuhan lab “represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic”.
A cable, dated January 19, 2018, said: “During interactions with scientists at the WIV laboratory, they noted the new lab has a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory.”
One US official warned: “The cable was a warning shot. They were begging people to pay attention to what was going on.”
The cables also warned the US to provide the lab with further support to help bring the potentially dangerous situation under some control but tragically, the please were ignored.
The WIV laboratory also reportedly received assistance from the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch and other US organisations in its work.
The US National Institute of Health, a government agency, is also alleged to have provided the lab with a $3.7million grant to continue research on bats from caves in Yunnan, more than 1,000 miles away. It is not clear when the research grant was given.
The Mail on Sunday also alleged last weekend scientists have traced the sequencing of the coronavirus genome to Yuahn.
The WIV laboratory had previously published research locating the cluster of bats believed to have transmitted SARS to humans 18 years ago.
It was also the first lab in the world in February to report COVID-19 was derived from bats.
A Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab, also in Wuhan, was also allegedly conducting research into animal coronaviruses and was located next to the Wuhan Seafood Market.
But the lab only held a level two biosafety certificate, with security protocols much more relaxed than the WIV.
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Scientific experts are now convinced these claims should not be dismissed as conspiracy theories, and believe concerns over whether the virus could have escaped from a lab in China should be investigated.
Xiao Qiang, a researcher at the University of California Berkeley, told the Washington Post: “I don’t think it’s a conspiracy theory. I think it’s a legitimate question that needs to be investigated and answered.
“To understand exactly how this originated is critical knowledge for preventing this from happening in the future.”
The exact source of COVID-19 remains unclear, but scientists have speculated it has bee transmitted from animals to humans, possibly originating in a bat.
But the Chinese Government claims the killer virus was transmitted to people via a wet market in Wuhan.
The number of coronavirus cases across the world has now surpassed two million, spreading quickly to more than 200 countries.
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